No matter who your favorite superhero is, it is an undebatable fact that Superman is one of the most iconic superheroes in existence. The red and blue superhero is credited with heralding America’s Golden Age of Comic Books, even being linked to an increase of newly conceptualized superheroes worldwide, and is considered to be the foundation of the superhero archetype.


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Given how impactful Superman’s legacy has been and continues to be in modern media, it makes sense that many fictional personas, even across genre and nationality, would draw inspiration from the Man of Steel. Here are seven anime characters that are seemingly inspired by Superman.

There isn’t official confirmation that these characters are inspired by Superman, only that they seem similar to the superhero who could have potentially served as a source of inspiration.

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7/7 Saitama

One Punch Man’s titular protagonist, though his current superhero pseudonym in the story (which has a penchant for on-the-nose naming techniques) is “Caped Baldy”. It’s difficult not to think of Superman when observing Saitama’s intentionally comical superhuman strength and invulnerability given those are the same traits that have long defined the ​​Kryptonian hero. Saitama even reflects some of Superman’s signature personality traits.

In his day-to-day life, Saitama is unperturbed and bland, embodying the mundanity (and even the slouch) Superman hid behind as Clark Kent. Yet when people are in danger, just like Superman abandons his glasses and dons his red cape, Saitama straightens up and is ready to do anything to save innocent lives.

6/7 All Might

My Hero Academia’s creator, Kōhei Horikoshi, has openly discussed the influence of Western superhero comics on his award-winning series. Although Horikoshi is a bit more partial to Marvel than DC, there are clear parallels between the latter’s Man of Steel and My Hero Academia’s Symbol of Peace. All Might’s former position as Japan’s number one Pro Hero mirrors Superman’s designation of “01” in the Justice League.

Related: My Hero Academia: All Might Memes That Are Beyond Hilarious

The heroes are visually alike, both being adorned in red and blue attire, and All Might decorating himself in a cape of those same colors in his youth. All Might is additionally drawn in a Western superhero comic style when in his hero form. They even wield many of the same abilities. More thematically, the two men encompass the archetypal traits of a superhero. Compassion, kindness, selflessness, and humanity.

5/7 Astro Boy

Also known by the name Mighty Atom, the character of Astro Boy was inspired by the cartoon superhero, Mighty Mouse, that in turn was based on Superman. Despite his name referencing space, Astro Boy doesn’t share Superman’s extraterrestrial origins. Rather, in a science fiction twist on Pinocchio, Astro Boy is an android created by scientist, Doctor Tenma, in the (failed) hopes of replacing his deceased son.

Differing origins aside, Astro Boy does manage to replicate many of Superman’s abilities including extraordinary strength and flight, and more importantly, takes upon the same commitment as the Kryptonian to fight crime and injustice.

4/7 Izuku Midoriya

My Hero Academia’s protagonist has much in common with his mentor, All Might, and by extension, Superman as well. It takes a while for Midoriya’s body to adjust to the immense power of “One for All”, the transferable Quirk that gives him and its former hosts their Superman-esque abilities but those growing pains never stop him from rising to the occasion.

It’s this trait that truly ties him to Superman, a hero who never stops fighting for justice even when he lacks his Kryptonian abilities, and leads All Might to choose him as his successor. Even when Midoriya is less than “super”, he innately embodies the nature of a hero that defined Superman as the epitome of superheroes.

3/7 Vash The Stampede

Trigun’s protagonist is notorious for his pacifist nature, an attribute Vash’s creator, Yasuhiro Nightow, intentionally imbued him with in opposition to the average action hero. Alternately nicknamed “The Humanoid Typhoon” and “The $$60,000,000,000” referring to his capability to cause mass destruction and the enormous bounty on his head respectively, Vash strictly adheres to the moral code he adopted from the woman who raised him.

Related: Trigun: Things You Might Not Know About Vash The Stampede

This code mirrors Superman’s determination to preserve life in most of his incarnations, a resolution usually instilled by the Kent family that took him in. Along with philosophy, Vash and Kal El are both humanoids, have incredible abilities, and landed on their current planets via spaceship.

2/7 Kenji Miyazawa

In the same fashion as the majority of Bungo Stray Dogs’ characters, Kenji is named after and inspired by a Japanese author. However, there are still some undeniable similarities to everyone’s favorite red and blue hero. Like Clark Kent, Kenji grew up in the countryside which deeply instilled within him the small-town values that Superman is commonly associated with.

He also shares the caped hero’s incredible strength and durability. These abilities are classified as one supernatural power titled “Undefeated by the Rain” in reference to one of the real-life Kenji Miyazawa’s final poems, “Ame ni mo makezu” (Be not Defeated by the Rain), before his death.

1/7 Morgiana

Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic’s tritagonist, Morgiana, is based on the character of the same name in the Arabian folk tale, “Alibaba and the Forty Thieves”. That being said, the re-imagined heroine still bears a significant likeness to the Man of Steel. The most blatant commonality is Morgiana’s superhuman strength, speed, and hearing. Like Kal-El, her powers stem from her being a member of a nonhuman species.

Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic takes place in a fictional world but similarly to how Kryptonians obtain abilities on Earth that they didn’t possess on their home planet of Krypton, Morgiana’s species, the Fanalis, have different capabilities outside of their native land, the Dark Continent.

MORE: DC: Most Terrifying Versions Of Superman

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